After Market: Good News Out of Congress Can't Stem Stocks' Fall

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Stocks continued to retreat Wednesday despite a bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill that looks likely to avert another budget crisis. The major averages ended near session lows, and they've now lost ground in seven of the last nine trading days. Apparently, the bulls need a breather. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 129 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 57 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) dropped 20 points.

Despite the broad losses, let's start with a look at couple of big winners.

Mastercard (MA) rose 3.5 percent after saying it will split its stock 10-for-1, raise its dividend by 83 percent and buy back up to $3.5 billion worth of stock. Rival credit card company Visa (V) went along for the ride, also gaining 3 percent. But American Express (AXP) and Discover (DFS) both edged lower.

Gunmaker Smith & Wesson (SWHC) rose 4 percent after earnings beat expectations on strong gun sales. But that didn't benefit Sturm Ruger (RGR), which fell 2 percent. Smith & Wesson shares have gained 29 percent over the past year -- which coincides almost to the day with the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre.

Scripps Networks (SNI) jumped 8 percent on reports that Discovery (DISCA) may be preparing a takeover bid. Scripps owns the Food Network, Travel Channel and HGTV.

And Groupon (GRPN) rose 1 percent after Wells Fargo upped its rating on the stock to 'outperform,' citing an improved mobile strategy.

On the downside, we have plenty to choose from.

Among the blue chips, Nike (NKE), UnitedHealth (UNH), and Pfizer (PFE) all lost more than 2 percent. Biotechs continued their recent struggles: Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AVNR) tumbled 29 percent after reporting a failed trial for its potential multiple sclerosis drug. Pharmacyclics (PCYC) fell 7 percent and Aegerion (AEGR) fell 4 percent.

LabCorp (LH), which conducts blood and other medical tests, could use an infusion after tumbling 11 percent. It issued a weak outlook for next year, putting part of the blame on Obamacare. Rival Quest Diagnostics (DGX) fell 5 percent.

The tax preparation firm H&R Block (HRB) fell nearly 3 percent. Its quarterly loss narrowed, but revenue fell. And Costco (COST) lost 1 percent. Its revenue fell short of expectations.

What to Watch Thursday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims and the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for November.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates and the Commerce Department releases business inventories for October.
These major companies are due to report quarterly financial statements:
  • Adobe Systems (ADBE)
  • Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV)
  • Lululemon Athletica (LULU)
  • Restoration Hardware (RH)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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k4jlp

Don't be surprised, Congress and past Presidents sold America 10 years ago...you get what you vote for...WAKE UP YOU SHEEP.

December 12 2013 at 7:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jerrym930

I continue hearing the left say we need to go back to the tax rates of the 1950s, in order for the government to reduce the deficit. The problem I have with this is that they completely ignore all the other things that were different in the 1950s. There was no Medicare or Medicaid. There was no expanded social welfare that was created by LBJ and his "Great Society" legislation. And, the American People supported businesses in this country. Those Americans actually DID put America first. We have lost that attitude today. It has been slowly stripped away from us. Back then, they disagreed on how to do things, but they were still united in what needed to be done. We can't agree on what needs to be done, because we all have allowed ourselves to become somewhat selfish towards our own issues. Most Americans will not voluntarily wake up to this. They will continue doing what they are doing, until we finally see a dramatic event force everyone to wake up.

December 12 2013 at 4:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jerrym930

Ever since the late 1960s, Congress has been passing laws to control businesses in this country. As soon as they started doing this, the corruption began. What we have witnessed over the last 5 decades is the growth of corruption in our government. My fear is that we will witness our once great nation go through a financial collapse and bankruptcy before the vast majority of the people finally wake up to what is really happening. This budget deal just keeps us headed in that direction.

December 12 2013 at 4:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
toosmart4u

Wall street just does not trust the republicans, I can understand why. Just look at their past few years controlling congress.

December 12 2013 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ectullis

This is a test this is only a test

December 12 2013 at 12:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kurt

Over my lifetime I have watched the slow sellout of our industrial base! It seemed to really get going with Bush1 and slowly ramp up through Clinton, Bush2 and ending with Obama and his endorsing of the TPP(trans pacific partnership)SELLOUT! Are any of these, sellout to the highest bidder, including foreign interests, POS'S, playing for the home team??? I think NOT!!

December 11 2013 at 10:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bill

Can someone explain to me why some of these sites won't let us post unless we sign in using twitter or facebook or some other website we don't want to belong to.

December 11 2013 at 10:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bill's comment
ectullis

exactlly

December 12 2013 at 12:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Florian Royack

does the author of this article understand that this budget deal plunges us deeper into debt?????

December 11 2013 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Florian Royack's comment
betty_brock

Liberals don't care.

December 11 2013 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
schmoyers

When will Americans a wake up? We don't have a real economy anymore. It has been transferred to Asia. The secretive Pan Pacific Trade Agreement, supportd by polticans in both parties, and the about to be completed Panama Canal Expanison will only exacerbate our decline. The notion that the stock market is healthy and does well when economic and political news that benefits the American people makes the news no longer applies. The stock market declines when economic news is good. The multi-nationalist billionaires, who are getting billions in corporate welfare and who spend vast sums to propagandize ordinary Americans.Waht will it take till the American people as a whole come together to demand that this travesty stop ?

December 11 2013 at 9:05 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to schmoyers's comment
pdbliz

I agree with you 100%,,,but,,,I believe Americans,,,51% are too stupid,,,dumb and nuts to really know what is going on...And,,they really do not care as long as they gets ,,freebes.!!!!!!!!

December 11 2013 at 9:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pdbliz's comment
betty_brock

BINGO

December 11 2013 at 10:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
DAVID LEAVELL

It seems as though we're living off of cooked numbers, massaged data and a false sense of security, I know the truth is behind the curtains ready to leap forward and spoil this silly belief.

December 11 2013 at 8:46 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply